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The IKA Torino, later Renault Torino, is a mid-sized automobile made by Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) under an agreement with American Motors (AMC) in 1966. The 1966 Torino was IKA’s first integral national product and IKA was eventually bought out by Renault in 1975 to form Renault Argentina S.A. The Torino was built on the same AMC platform all the way through 1981 in both two-door hardtop and four-door sedan variants. It has been called Argentina's national car.

Design

The Torino began life as an Argentine hybrid of AMC's 1964-65 Rambler American with exclusively designed front and rear body panels, bumpers and interior. One unique feature is the Torino's front unibody "frame rails" that came from the bigger 1963-1964 Rambler Classic and made up for a beefier front end, adapting the car to the rougher road conditions of Argentina at the time, and unlike the American, the Torino rode on a slightly longer by one inch wheelbase of 2723 mm (107-inch). Although the engines were not obtained from American Motors, the vehicle's basic AMC platform continued throughout its lifetime. As upgrades were incorporated over the years, such as AMC's flush door handles, the Torino became mostly a product of Argentina with few imported parts.

The car's badging was based on the city of Turin's coat of arms. The symbol was a bull standing on its two hind legs, mimicking the prancing stallion symbol of Ferrari. The Argentine car's front end, rear fascia, and interior were redesigned by Italian auto stylists at Pininfarina to give it a more European look, as well as to make the Torino more appealing to the Argentine public and less like an American car. With the added exterior styling touches, as well as its unique trim and luxurious interior appointments, the Torino was truly a product of Argentina.

Between 1970 and 1976, the Torino was sold as a "luxury vehicle". Famous owners included Fidel Castro, Leonid Brezhnev, and Muammar al-Gaddafi.

From 1977, the top model became the Torino Grand Routier, a touring sedan. The entire range received some sheetmetal and design changes in 1978, (when IKA became Renault Argentina) though major panels such as the doors were carried over. The newer models were slightly longer and the later sedans can be recognized by their full C-pillar. Previously the rear window wrapped into the sides more.

In its final year, the Torino was only available in two models (Grand Routier GR sedan and ZX Coupé), while in its heyday there were over twenty versions.

Engines

Rather than using AMC engines, the Torino was equipped with 3.77 L (230 cu in) overhead camshaft (OHC) straight-6 (I6) Jeep Tornado engines that were originally developed by Kaiser Motors in 1963 for the new Jeep Gladiator pickups and Wagoneer four wheel drive vehicles. This engine was produced in Argentina and increased the domestic or local sourced content of the car. At the Torino's debut on 30 November, 1966, at the Municipal Racing circuit of Buenos Aires (which was used for the Formula 1 race every year), three models were available: a 4-door sedan with 3.0 L (183 cu in) and 3-speed transmission, a 2-door coupe with 3.0 L featuring a Holley carburetor and a 4-speed ZF manual gearbox, as well as a top-of-the-line "380W" model equipped with an enlarged 3.77 L engine with three (3) horizontally mounted Weber 2-barrel carburetors. The 3.77 L produced 215 horsepower (160 kW; 218 PS) making the 380W capable of a 205-kilometre-per-hour (127 mph) top speed.

Racing

The car was successful in Argentina, and, when released, it placed well in international races against famous sport cars. The most important race was the "84 hours of Nürburgring" in 1969, with a Torino finishing in third place.

Today they are still being raced in "Turismo Carretera", "TC4000" and "Turismo Zonal" categories.

Legacy

By the late 1970s the Torino was the only non-Renault product manufactured by the French company. It could also be considered the last front-engine, rear wheel drive Renault, a rarity in itself.

Many Argentines think of the Torino as the national car, it became popular with the tuning industry, parts are still available and fan clubs abound.

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